Thursday, May 31, 2007

I'm getting serious about going digital

A couple of years ago, I decided to take my business - and my life - fully digital. That was the main reason for this blog.

Up till now, it's been a bit hit and miss... touch and go. Mainly because my expectations were well ahead of the existing software and hardware available.

But a number of things have been happening to change that. Among those, and I guess most importantly, has been Google's move to offline web based applications announced a couple of days ago. In time, Google Gears for example, will allow you to work on your Gmail offline, then move it to the web when you're ready.

I'm already using many of Google's apps for my digital business, and I'll list those in a future post.

So their development is a great step forward, but it's more than that. It signifies the move towards the "empty computer" concept - a great term which basically implies that everything you need is held on a server somewhere, and you access it via your computer which acts as a conduit. It's all very similar to Oracle/Sun's Network Computer (NC) a few years back, which didn't catch on.

However, there's still a way to go before I can turn my digital life on. But there's something that's causing me to accelerate my progress. And that's a series of "recovered from a serious error" dialog boxes over the last week. I'm taking this to mean that my hard drive will eventually expire shortly.

I have everything backed up of course, but it's hugely inconvenient to get everything back and working again.

That's why my mission to go fully digital is getting quite serious right now.

And as I was writing this post, I idly wondered how much could I could reduce my physical computer setup.

At the moment my triple screen configuration is now essential to me for boosted productivity - so that stays.

But do I need a keyboard?

I do all my 'typing' through Dragon NaturallySpeaking, so do I really need keys?

Also, most of my gestures are done through the mouse - so most of my keyboard use could be eliminated... if I could break the habit. (Photo shows my Logitech cordless keyboard and MX3000 mouse on my desk).

That will be a pretty exciting step - either fully quitting my keyboard or maybe only using it briefly when required.

As always, my increased productivity (read "laziness") is prime. Let's see how far I can take that.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Picasa fails, so I'm going online

I haven't added anything to my Picasa photo album system since Xmas.

Sadly I have not been able to access Picasa on my computer (Windows XP Home), despite many reboots and downloads. This means I have effectively lost all the tags and organisational ability of Picasa, and I'm very annoyed.

So I'm looking at using Flickr to leave all my photos online and avoid this disaster happening again. I'll keep you posted.

get a better webcam picture

I videoconference a lot with my relatives overseas. As an ex-pro photographer I'm very conscious about lighting and camera positions.

Just now I came across an excellent step-by-step blog on how to improve your basic webcam lighting to get a better picture. That's the author in the picures above. See the story HERE

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

the robots are coming!

I've just finished reading this fascinating excerpt by "How Stuff Works" creator Marshall Brain.

He talks about the rise of a robot workforce within the next 20 to 30 years, and its effect on the world. The implications are mind-boggling.

Start here: - and go to his interesting "Robotic Nation" story here: